Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Three Musketeers (1948)

“To die among friends. Can a man ask more? Can the world offer less? Who wants to live 'till the last bottle is empty? It's all-for one, d'Artagnan, and one for all.” 

            The Three Musketeers has gone through many incarnations over the years. I remember the first Three Musketeers movie I watched when I was little was the one with Chris O’Donnell. So far until I viewed the 1948 version with Gene Kelly that was the only version I had seen. While I have not seen the others I am going to go ahead and say this is the best version just because it was made by MGM with a cast that includes Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Van Heflin,  Vincent Price, Angela Lansbury, and Frank Morgan.
            D’Artagnan (Kelly) sets out from a small provincial town in France to the capital. He has a letter in his hand to give to the head of the king’s musketeers to join them. D’Artagnan stops in a town where he is met by a royal guard. The guard does not tolerate his humor and a lady in the carriage signals for her guards to knock him out.
            The musketeers allow D’Artagnan to join them but he still needs to train and practice in order to become a full member. He clumsily bumps into two different musketeers and each one challenges him to a fight to the death. D’Artagnan meets with Athos (or so I think it is) to fight and is met by Porthos and Aramis (or so I think). Before the men can start fighting they are met by governor’s Richelieu’s (Price) soldier lead by Rochefort. D’Artagnan helps in the fighting do several acrobatic moves and outsmarting the other soldiers. He basically defeats them all and sends Rochefort running all by himself.  
            D’Artagnan is a made a full musketeer and given his own apartment. His landlord asks him if he could watch his daughter Constance (June Allyson) who is a lady for the queen. The father thinks Constance is in trouble and being followed by Richelieu’s men. D’Artagnan saves Constance from the hit men and falls madly in love with her.
            Queen Anne (Lansbury) is seeing the Duke of Buckingham. She gives him two diamond studs as a gift. Richelieu and Lady DeWinter (Turner) want those studs and plan on getting Anne into trouble with her husband Louis XIII (Morgan). Constance overhears what is their plan is and tells the musketeers. D’Artagnan manages to get the jewels back in time before the queen is found out.
            There is much more to the adventure but it would take too long and the plot to me got a little complicated to the point where I kind of stopped paying attention. Also I would not want to give much of the action away as well the parts I did pay attention to were very good.
            The cast is excellent. Gene Kelly was the perfect choice for D’Artagnan because he was so athletic and a complete charmer. I did not explain too much about the character of Lady DeWinter, she was evil and Lana Turner did a fabulous job. She had the perfect sinister look for the wicked lady. Tuner looked gorgeous every one of her costumes were beautiful shades of green. Turner in Technicolor was gorgeous her eyes were such a gorgeous blue. Angela Lansbury in her small parts was great but then again when is nothing but fabulous. Vincent Price was so evil and so wonderful. He had the perfect voice for a bad guy. Van Heflin was alright, his dramatic scenes especially the one at the end was very good. June Allyson I have never seen in a film before this. I liked her she was pretty and she was a good actress. Frank Morgan as King Louis XIII was only in the film for glimpses really. He was funny I always enjoy seeing him in a film no matter how long he is in it.
            In Singin in the Rain the clip of Don and Lina’s movie that is shown at the premier in the beginning is a scene of Don sword fighting with the bad guys to protect Lina. The scene that was shown was actually taken from The Three Musketeers. MGM recycled the scene when D’Artagnan has gone to seen Lady DeWinter about Constance whereabouts and her guards attack him at her command. I read about this fact and knew it but as I was watching I completely forgot until the scene came up. It was pretty exciting to see the scene from Singin in the Rain in the real film it comes from.
            The 1948 version of The Three Musketeers is very entertaining. Although I found some of the scenes slow and some of the plot to be confusing I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Lana Turner’s scenes. There is no doubt that this The Three Musketeers is the ultimate version to see.

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